Woman Loses Custody of Pet Bobcat

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rocky the Bobcat is in the middle of a custody battle.

    A South Jersey woman lost temporary custody of her pet bobcat after the animal escaped from her home multiple times.

    On Friday a judge ordered that Ginny Fine's bobcat Rocky be seized and returned to Popcorn Park Zoo until the two pending charges against Fine are resolved.

    Last June, Rocky escaped from Fine's Stafford Township home. The escape came less than three weeks after Fine told NBC10 she could guarantee Rocky would never get loose in the future. The animal was loose for about an hour before Fine retrieved her pet, police said.

    A complaint from a neighbor prompted a response from the township’s Animal Control, which issued a summons to Fine for the animal “running at large.”

    The 38 pound partially-declawed feline has been in the spotlight since late March after he got loose from Fine’s house, prompting concerns from neighbors and police. He was missing for days before turning up.

    As a result of a previous court order stemming from a prior escape last fall, authorities seized Rocky and took him to the Associated Humane Societies’ Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township.

    A DNA test to determine if Rocky is a purebred Bobcat, illegal to own as a pet in New Jersey, or a hybrid proved to be inconclusive. As a result, Rocky was returned to Fine on May 19, three days after Stafford Township Municipal Court Judge Damian Murray ruled she could have him back as long as an enclosure outside her home passed an inspection by township officials.

    Murray also ordered Fine to pay a $1,000 fine and more than $200 in restitution. She now faces an additional fine.

    Following the May 16 hearing, NBC10 News asked Fine if Rocky would be getting loose again, to which she adamantly replied, “Never, ever…I don’t ever want to do this again.”

    The township’s Animal Control was alerted of the roaming bobcat by a neighbor who filed a complaint about the pet. Animal Control issued a summons to Fine for the animal “running at large.”